I Am Old and Wise

I was once like you are now
And I know that it’s not easy

owls.jpg

Ahem.

On this, the one-year anniversary of my blog (waits patiently as balloons fall from the ceiling, champagne corks fill the air, children throw flowers, old ladies weep with joy, young studly men . . . ) AHEM! On this day, I have been called upon to rise to a challenge. A challenge like no other! A challenge issued by Jeff from View from the Cloud, who was likewise challenged by Brent from the Ominous Comma.

The challenge is this:

Write a funny post that includes an actual and helpful technical blogging tip or educational material helpful to new bloggers.

Jeff wrote 5 tips, all of them good ones, including the suggestion to give away free crap. Since Jeff stole my free crap idea, I’m offering 7 tips, all them free, some of them crappy.

So gather ’round, my tender young bloglings, and drink deeply from the font of wisdom that is JD, a one-whole-year blogger who once had Widgetbucks and Blogvertise in her sidebar and is therefore a slightly questionable source of expertise.

  1. Carry a notebook. Ideas will pop into your head like merry kernels of corn popping into .  .  . um (runs out of metaphor). These ideas will pop at the most inconvenient times. You think you’ll remember them? You won’t. Write them down and keep a file of all your little scraps and scribbles and seedlings. Once your ideas are safely recorded, THEN you will remember them, usually in the middle of the night.
  2. Bring your camera with you everywhere. In my experience, “everywhere” pretty much means my kitchen. That doesn’t mean you’re invited to blog in my kitchen. Find your own “everywhere.” You never know when you’ll see something worth blogging about. Even if you don’t normally include photos in your blog, a good picture can often inspire an idea. When you’re stuck, look through old photos and scrapbooks. Embarrassing stories are just waiting to be written!
  3. Never underestimate the funny. I don’t know how many times Dave has said, “You’re going to blog about that?” If I listened to him and refrained from writing, say, about cleaning my stove or David Strathairn’s underwear, this blog would be nothing more than photos of Gus and lame-ass contests.
  4. Write when the urge hits you AND when the urge doesn’t hit you. In other words, try not to schedule writing time or think you can only write under certain conditions. I used to think I could only write in the morning, fueled by buckets of caffeine. But I’ve learned that I can write when I’m sleepy, cranky, hungry, strung out on Vicodin or muscle relaxers—I’m not saying I can write well or even coherently at these times, but I can write . . . my name.
  5. Have fun. Duh. I know, but sometimes I get bogged down under all the peripheral stuff: traffic, ads, template, comments, stats, the feeling that I’m not posting often enough or my posts are too long or I’ll never have another good idea again. I hope my blog is fun and enjoyable for all the millions out there who read it, but at the end of the day, it has to be fun for me.
  6. Think of your audience, BUT! Unless your dad is going to call you up and scold you for using the “F” word, try not to think too much about each individual person reading your blog. If you get stuck on “Well, I can’t write about this because Uncle Joe will tan my hide,” then, well, you MUST write a post about Uncle Joe tanning your hide. Anticipating what anyone or everyone will think leads to a lot of wheel-spinning.
  7. Get away from your blog. Turn off the computer, go outside, get a latte, and read a damn book already! Experiencing other forms of entertainment—even if it’s watching the entire season of Rock of Love 2 (only $20 on iTunes notthatiwouldknow)—will make you a better blogger. And for your own mental health, try not to see everything through your blogger’s eyes. Just live it. Not everything is blog fodder (OK, I’m kidding. EVERYthing is blog fodder!)

You may not be as old or as wise as I am, but I’d love to hear your tips and ideas. I’m also accepting free crap.

And! Won’t you celebrate my blog birthday by treating yourself to a nice chocolate donut? I know I will!


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39 Comments


39 Responses to “I Am Old and Wise”

  1. 1 Jeff

    First of all… you just freaked me out. I am not making this up, but I was actually singing Father and Son to myself before I opened up this post. (I sing that one with my duet). ~Cue Twilight Zone here~

    Second of all… who the hell is Tim? ;-)

    Third of all… Congrats on your big Blogiversary! You’re a big girl now!

    Fourth of all… Awesome tips! And thank you for giving me permission to not think too much who reads my stuff. You have no idea how many times I’ve refrained from writing something because I was worried about what your Uncle Joe would think.

    Fifth of all… You have definitely risen to the challenge AS WELL AS the couch of non-rising-ness! Great post!

  2. 2 Angi

    All some great advice!!

    Rock of Love 2 was like a train wreck. You don’t want to watch it, but the next thing you know, you’ve watched 10 episodes and even though you don’t WANT to care about Daisy or Destiny or Ambre, you’re still morbidly curious and sadly hooked…but, like you said, not that I would know.

  3. 3 Brent Diggs

    Wow, what a party. I think I got a cork in my eye. But the tips were great, too often I forget my notebook and end up writing on my hand.

    Congrats on the big “One.”

    Brent Diggs’s last blog post..Droll Humor?

  4. 4 Daisy the Curly Cat

    I brought a bag of Temptations to help you celebrate your blogoversary! No need to thank me.

    Whenever I think of an idea for a blog post, I always feel like I will never be able to think of another good idea again. And then, the next one just pops into my head! It really is just like corn popping!

    Daisy the Curly Cat’s last blog post..Where The Beans Are

  5. 5 Tiggy

    Happy Blogday JD! I love a party (I’ll apologise now for throwing up on the cat – it often happens).

    Your tips about carrying a notebook and camera are spot on! It’s great to sit in the street with a wild look in your eye, scribbling away and taking pictures of public urinals or whatever.

    It may be a good idea to wear an “Don’t Call the Cops, I’m A Blogger” badge…

    Tiggy’s last blog post..Legally High – Tiggy’s Buzz Test

  6. 6 Babs - beetle

    Congratulations on your blogoversary ;O)

    Hmmm….. I knew I was doing something wrong. I never write anything down. I lay in bed with a great blog running through my head. Do I jot it down? Nooo! Come the morning, do I remember? Remember what?

    I will have to get my act together.

    Babs – beetle’s last blog post..My Voki post

  7. 7 cardiogirl

    Congratulations on an entire year!

    You’re going to eat cake, right? Every party needs cake. And ice cream. Because it is a celebration.

    Happy Blog-aversary!

  8. 8 Scratch Bags

    Congratulations:) Am I actually a blogling so I am taking ideas from everywhere. I think I need to really follow the last idea strictly.:)

    Thank you for the tips, and trust me they are not crappy. This is from blogling’s point of view.

    Scratch Bags’s last blog post..Scratch Bags Vacation

  9. 9 PG

    yay, happy bloggybirthday!

    and solid advice across the board. Definitely take your camera everywhere! It’s amazing the things you see, and the things you start seeing that were always there when you go about with an eye for a photo.

    PG’s last blog post..You’ve Heard of Pie in the Sky? (166/365)

  10. 10 Duck

    So I don’t need vats of coffee to be able to write a sentence??? Cool! Thanks for the tip! ;) And happy happy birthday!!

    Duck’s last blog post..Duck of the Month – July

  11. 11 Jay

    Happy Blog *ouch* birthday! Damn balloons and corks and half-burned candles… quick, gimme some cake!

    I don’t think I have any ideas other than what I’ve read here and in the other blog posts in this series. Writing stuff down is a must – the ‘conversations’ I’ve laughed myself sick over and swore I’d remember and promptly forgot!! And the camera is a must too!

    I left something for you on my blog today though!

    Jay’s last blog post..Blog Awards

  12. 12 Alice

    Great tips! And I’m guilty of watching Rock of Love 2 while I fold laundry in my bedroom. I get sick watching those girls, but can’t pull myself away.

    Alice’s last blog post..New Look for Honey Pie – Coming Soon!

  13. 13 JD

    Jeff: That is freaky! Way freaky. I think we’re on some weird blog-wave or something.

    Thanks for the congrats and the kudos. It was a fun post and I’m honored that you chose me as a candidate for the challenge.

    Ah, “who is Tim”—that eternal question. I like to think that, in some small way, we’re all Tim, just trying to figure out who we are . . .

    Angi: Thank you! I can’t believe I actually paid real American money to download that stupid show, but I watched the 1st season on DVD and the second one isn’t out yet. You seem to know an awfully lot about it . . . you even spelled that ridiculous Ambre’s name the (in)correct way.

    Brent Diggs: An honor to have you stop by, sir! Whoever warned me that writing on your hand will give you ink poisoning scared me into the whole notebook thing.

    Daisy the Curly Cat: Yay for Temptations! That’s probably better than a donut. Just remember: the next time you get that popping sensation (quite different from “pooping” sensation, which is what I typed first), tell your Mommie to write it down!

    Tiggy: Thank you, Tiggy! And don’t worry about the cat. She bathes so rarely I have to hose her down anyway. I think your suggestion about a special blogger’s badge is an excellent one—maybe like a press pass so we can get into those all-important public urinals without being hassled by the man.

    Babs – beetle: Thanks, Babs! I would say you’re doing a pretty good job without writing down your ideas, but I’d love to read this great blog that runs thru your head, too. What the heck, it’s not like you can have too many blogs, right?

    Cardiogirl: YAY! And thank you! Well, I’m thinking just ice cream. I already treated myself to a Starbuck’s latte this morning, so maybe a pint of Haagen Dazs Creme Brulee for, I mean, after supper. Woo!

    Scratch Bags: Aw, thank you, my young blogling! I hope they were of some help. When I started out, I was all about monetizing, and most of my tips came from ProBlogger or John Chow. Since then I’ve relaxed a bit and tried to just enjoy myself. The financial rewards will come . . . perhaps in the form of free crap from Jeff!

    PG: Thank you! I’m no photographer, but once you start thinking of things in a different way, you do tend to get some good ideas. A decent camera—always on hand—is very useful, even if you only take pictures of failed kitchen experiments.

    Duck: Say good-bye forever to the vats of coffee! Well, maybe keep one vat around. It’s pure hell trying to write with caffeine withdrawal. (And thanks for the birthday wishes!)

    Jay: Here’s a nice slab of cake for you. I think I got all the cork out. I deliberately didn’t read any of the other Blogging Tips blogs other than Jeff’s because I didn’t want to accidentally copy anyone or find out that they had already written one of my tips.

    OMG! Thank you so much for the award! I’ll come over and thank you in person. And on my blog-birthday, too (blushes and scrapes toe of shoe into the ground)

    Alice: Thanks! I’m so glad I’m not the only ROL addict out there. It’s so gross but so compelling. At least I’m not watching I Love Money. (I am, however, taping it.)

  14. 14 Angi

    Yes, I think that’s why I remembered how to spell it – her parents took too much creative license with the spelling, making it imprint on my brain. Not that I’m happy about it.

    Thanks for visiting my site! I have added you to my blogroll, I hope that’s alright with you. ;)

  15. 15 Maureen

    Awesome list JD! And Happy Anniversary!!!

    It was one year ago today I moved to my current blog from my old one… so we kinda share an anniversary!

    Love your tips; and you are so right about bringing the camera everywhere; “Don’t Leave Home Without It!”

  16. 16 Lori

    Happy BlogDay!! No chocolate donuts but how ’bout some Hershey’s Treasures??? I’m off to go live some life and hopefully come up with another post!

  17. 17 Kathy

    Happy Birthday, JD’s blog! All excellent tips. You know what you’re talking about, as evidenced by the great success of your blog. For the record, I do censor myself a bit because my 83 year old father reads my blog, and yes, a 40-something daughter can still be embarrassed by some of the things that never made it into The Junk Drawer. Maybe I should start a new one called “The Blog That Dad Doesn’t Know About.”

    Kathy’s last blog post..The Subway/Wawa Smackdown

  18. 18 Monique

    Congrats on your 1 yr anniversary!

    I think its amazing how many people start their blogs in July or January. :)

    I loved the tips, especially number 6. I started blogging by overthinking.. trying to not offend everyone or anything. But the more I came into myself the more I realized people were going to either like me for me or stop reading it.

    Monique’s last blog post..The Confessions of a Lunatic

  19. 19 Canucklehead

    I’m actually shocked that this blog is only a year old. I have always looked at you as the ‘seasoned vet’ who took me under her wing (think ‘wax on, wax off’ – erm, maybe just ‘wax on’). Anyway, congrats – I’m certain you know already how I feel about both you and this blog so I won’t go on here except to say congrats and I’ll have a beer (read: 12) for you today. Lastly, I CANNOT WAIT to set up shop in your kitchen … see you soon!

  20. 20 Corrina

    Congrats on your 1 year blog anniversary! You rocketh, muy mucho.

    And uh, speaking of rocketh… How can you watch Rock of Love without showering during the commercials or at least wiping yourself down with moist towelettes? Those women make me fear that STDs will soon be transmitted through television sets.

    EXCELLENT blogging advice too. :-) You’re so stinkin’ smart!

    Corrina’s last blog post..I’m So Lame

  21. 21 dcr

    Happy Blog Birthday! My blog is two days older than yours!

    Usually, the urge to write something comes when it’s completely inconvenient. If I carry a notebook, there will be few such urges. If I am sitting at the computer, I sometimes end up staring at a blank document.

    But, when I am working and unable to write or when I’m in bed half-asleep, that’s when the ideas will come flowing in. And, I’ll remember about 10% of that later and have the blank screen issue again.

    Perhaps I am lucky I blog anything at all!

    dcr’s last blog post..Why Don’t You Want Me to Comment on Your Blog?

  22. 22 Kelly

    Happy blogoversary!! Blogging from your kitchen sounds like a much nicer idea than blogging from MY kitchen… unless, of course, your kitchen is as pathetic as mine. Maybe we should blog from Canucklehead’s kitchen. He’s got that new little Cancucklehead we can ooh and ahh over. Oh, and he has all the beer.

    Sláinte!

    Kelly’s last blog post..Doodle Week: Evil

  23. 23 JD

    Angi: I always think “Hombre” when her name is flashed onscreen.

    Thank for you the add! Of course it’s “all right”! Your site is way cool!

    Maureen: Thank you! Wow, we are blog sisters!

    With all the dough I’m going to make from Project Wonderful (75 cents so far!), I’d like to buy one of those super-slim cameras, so I really can just stick it in my pocket. Too much good stuff out there!

    Lori: Thank you! Hersheye’s Treasures are more than adequate. Can’t wait to see what you come up with!

    Kathy: Wheeee!!! Thanks, Kathy! Oooh, I’d love to read The Blog That (Kathy’s) Dad Doesn’t Know About. I’ll bet there are lots of swear words and perhaps even a dirty joke or two. Seriously, tho, if my dad were still here with us, some of my past posts would be VERY different.

    Monique: Thank you! Yeah, I’ve come across at least a handful of other bloggers who started in July. I wonder why that is…

    Yes, and so much depends on what you like to write about, your style, etc. I think my blog originally started out much more careful, but I’ve come to see that I can get away with an “F” word every now and then without people leaving in droves. It’s easy to overthink, tho, you’re right.

    Canucklehead: Oh, you can still think of me as a “seasoned vet” (and thank you for not saying “old”). You started your blog, what, like a week after I did? I was delighted to find you so early in my blogging career. We will be blog friends for life! I’ll drink (my coffee) to that!

    I hope you don’t mind sharing the kitchen with about 35 other bloggers. They’re all on their way. I have to get busy pimping some snacks…

    Corrina: Thank you, sweetie! As for RoL, I find it easiest to recline in a bathtub full of Clorox, Butt Sanitizer, and the antidote for the Ebola virus. Occasionally I dunk my head under to make sure my eyeballs get good and sterilized. You are right to be afraid.

    dcr: Woo-hoo! Thanks, Dan! I thought we started around the same time. Figures you’re the elder statesman.

    So you need a notebook by your bed. My ideas always come at inconvenient times, but I’ve learned to write while half-asleep, while on the elliptical, during physical training, and during a biopsy of my goiter. Do you think having a notebook prohibits the urge to write from coming at all? I know there have been times when I’ve made a point to bring a notebook with me when I walk and . . . nothing. But you never know.

    Oh, how I hate the dreaded blank screen!

    Kelly: Thanks, Kelly, and Sláinte right back atchya.

    I vote for Canucklehead’s kitchen. I gotta see that baby. By the way, have you seen the Fight the Power T-shirts he made? Awesome.

  24. 24 Scratch Bags

    I added you in my Scratch Roll so that I don’t have to wander around in the whole blogosphere, and then suddenly realize oh! there is JD,she must be doing things that I don’t have to. But I need to know what is she doing. :-P Anyways Welcome .:) Here you go- http://scratchbags.wordpress.com/scratch-roll/

    Scratch Bags’s last blog post..This can’t get more evil

  25. 25 sheasy

    First time visiting your AWESOME blog. Happy Anniversary! Great tips. Regarding #5: I can tell you have mastered this for sure. If it’s this fun to read, than you must be having a blast writing it.

    Added you to my reader!

    sheasy’s last blog post..My Life as Zombie

  26. 26 JD

    Scratch Bags: Wow, thank you! That’s awesome. And I see I am in some really good company as well. WOO!

    sheasy: Thanks so much! I’m so happy to have you and to have discovered your blog in turn. It’s great to hear you’re having fun—I know I am!

  27. 27 Chat Blanc

    Thank you for the great tips and a super enjoyable read! :) I think I might have popped a couple of the celebration balloons when I sat down at the party, hope that’s okay. Congrats on the year anniversary!

    Chat Blanc’s last blog post..Healthy Schmealthy

  28. 28 Margaret

    I don’t have anything snarky to say just a sincere: These are some great tips! I’ve reached the point where I do take my camera everywhere now, cuz you just never know.

  29. 29 Elle

    Well, happy blogobirthday! As you so wisely recommend, I do always carry my notebook, but it winds up full of grocery lists, Star Wars episode three drawings courtesy of my son (PLEASE sit still – here, here’s my notebook – write something!) and half-assed notes from work. (I know I had a brilliant idea, it’s in the notebook, behind the GET MILK AND TP page…) So if you ever read a “GET MILK AND TP, PICK UP DRY CLEANING, Anakin defeats Obi-Wan” post at my place, you’ll know that the notebook is in full force.

    All the very best for the next exciting year of the Doing Things, Dahlink!

    Elle’s last blog post..Back to the Doodling – EVIL!

  30. 30 regan

    Happy blog birthday! I would send you some cake, but it would most likely get squished in the mail….

    Thanks for the ideas!! =)

  31. 31 UTP

    That is by far one of the best posts I have ever read…and I do read a lot….I dont know why…maybe this is exactly what I wanted to read in the current mood…

    Good stuff and congrats on the anniversary…

  32. 32 jennypenny

    For inspiration I watch Twin Peaks! Fueled by chocolate donuts and buckets of coffee! Seriously, great post, JD. As always you’re right on. But more pics of Gus would be welcome, you know. One can never get too much of a kewTAY kitteh like Gus! Happy Blogday, JD!

    jennypenny’s last blog post..“There Will Be …

  33. 33 JD

    Margaret: No snark necessary! I appreciate your comment very much. I hoped these humble tips would be somewhat helpful. I don’t always follow my own advice: I had a GREAT photo op today while grocery shopping, but no camera. Dang!

    Elle: Thanks, Dahlink! I think your son’s Star Wars drawings would make an awesome post—wait, didn’t you do that for Doodle Week?

    Regan: Thanks, Regan! And I don’t mind squished cake at all, so please get on that. I prefer yellow cake with chocolate frosting.

    UTP: Wow, thank you! That’s awfully nice of you to say. So glad you stopped by, and I hope you’ll stick around.

    jennypenny: Twin Peaks, eh? Well, that explains a lot! Seriously, I LOVE Twin Peaks and got the Gold Edition Special DVD set and am enjoying the anticipation of watching it. Maybe I’ll get some good ideas too.

    Oh, you know just what to say. There will definitely be more pix of Gus AND Prudence. They are such camera whores!

  34. 34 JT

    Congrats on the anniversary, and hmmmmm. I think I’m going to have to take that advice on the carrying around something to write in. I constantly have thoughts that I think “I should remember that!” and by the time I sit in front of the screen, they’ve all dissipated! So frustrating!

    JT’s last blog post..TRAUMA!!!

  35. 35 JD

    JT Thanks, my sistah! Yes, it is frustrating, especially since those thoughts and ideas that pop into our heads are so BRILLIANT—how can we forget them? But we do…

  36. 36 Tim

    “Who the hell is Tim?”
    Yes, that is the eternal question. Sorry to disappoint you, but I’m pretty sure you aren’t all Tim deep inside ;)
    It’s hard to believe you have only been doing this for a year. You must have been practicing funny and entertaining for longer than that, since you’re very good at it.

    Tim’s last blog post..Looks Like We Finally Made It

  37. 37 JD

    Tim: Wow, thank you! Now if I were only as good at being Tim . . .

  38. 38 Shieldmaiden96

    I was tempted to do this one, but can’t seem to get beyond the one lesson my Sensei’s Sensei taught me when I first started taking iaido. Ready? Its really profound.

    “Teaching you is a little like throwing sh*t at the wall. Eventually, something sticks.”

    I hasten to add he didn’t direct this at ME personally. And he wasn’t saying it in an unkind way, believe it or not.

    But for me writing is like that. I just toss it out there and see what sticks. Stuff drops into my head and I simply take dictation. I don’t think I could articulate any other distinct rules. Other than spell things correctly and that sort of thing. But reading these has been fun and interesting!

    Shieldmaiden96′s last blog post..Wardrobes of the Malfunctioning Variety

  39. 39 JD

    Shieldmaiden96: I’m glad you enjoyed it! And thanks for the contribution. I like hearing about everyone’s creative process, and definitely, for some of us, there is really no process: it just comes out.


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